Recent Blog Posts

  • What is an Accredited Investor – Rare as a Spotted Snow Leopard?
    If you are looking to raise capital, finding an “Accredited Investor”, or even being able to explain the rules to a possible investor, can seem as impossible as catching a glimpse of a Snow Leopard. Yes, it can be difficult to find investors for your project, and it certainly seems that the SEC makes it more difficult than it should be, but there is a reason why…and more importantly, reasons why you need to know the rules and follow them. The bedrock of most exemptions from SEC registration is a requirement that securities only be sold to “Accredited Investors.” This way people that aren’t sophisticated enough to understand investing aren’t taken advantage of. Qualifying as an Accredited Investor So, what kind of education or experience is necessary to obtain the status of Accredited Investor? None whatsoever. For most intents and purposes, the operative definition of Accredited Investor from Rule 501 ... Read more
  • Emergency Preparedness for Your Business
    Natural disasters are all around us.  It is absolutely astonishing how the weather patterns are changing and the impact they are having with storms and even the likelihood of fires. Right now it is flooding, but what could it be next. With that said, if we bring up the topic of being “prepared” for such a disaster, many of us immediately think of our personal or family situation, but not the for emergency preparedness in regards to our business. We often forget that these same disasters affect business owners and can create even greater hurdles for entrepreneurial families to get back on their feet. Personally, I have been a Scoutmaster off and on for years, and not only do I try to teach my boys to live the Scout Moto: “Be Prepared”, but even I oftentimes forget the little things.  There was a particular trip on a campout that ... Read more
  • What is a Self-Directed IRA? – The Truth
    A self-directed IRA (traditional or Roth), is a retirement account YOU control. That’s right, you get to decide what you invest in…NOT just stocks, bonds, mutual funds, annuities, or whatever your brokerage account is selling that month. Now your broker may tell you that you can’t do this and it’s prohibited. They’re blatantly wrong or simply lying. You can actually invest in real estate, promissory notes, precious metals, cryptocurrency, small businesses, and concert tickets, or raw land. The truth is your brokerage, ‘the typical Wall Street platform’, can’t allow you to self-direct, but you can move your account to a custodian or trust company that follows YOUR direction to invest in what you know best!! The usual reaction I hear from investors is, “Why haven’t I ever heard of these self-directed IRAs or self-directed 401(k)s before? Furthermore, why have I always been told that my retirement portfolio has to be ... Read more
  • RV Ownership Tax Strategies
    Let’s get real, we don’t buy an RV for a tax write-off.  They are a utility vehicle in some rare circumstances, but they are certainly by far a lifestyle choice and just what they are called: a “recreational” vehicle. But that doesn’t mean we can’t find a few tax perks.. IF WE DO IT RIGHT. Now with that said, I’ve got good news and bad news, and as my mother taught me to ‘get your chores done first’, let’s get it over with.  The regrettable news I need to share is that the RV no longer qualifies as a 2nd home for a mortgage interest deduction. Personal deductions for an RV Under the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed in December of 2017, and in effect until 2025, the only deductible mortgage interest is that of your primary residence. Furthermore, it’s only interest on acquisition indebtedness.  That means you ... Read more
  • What to do if You’re Being Audited
    Being audited is one of the most stressful and dreaded experiences a taxpayer can go through. It’s a wonderful blessing to live in America, and paying taxes comes with that privilege, but enforcement is a reality. Sometimes our actions will increase our chances of an audit (see my article Top 10 Ways to Avoid an IRS Audit), but sometimes our ‘number just comes up’. It’s difficult to grasp this reality because we typically want to blame someone when a tragedy hits…like an audit…however again, sometimes the IRS is simply going to check your numbers and possible receipts. Whatever the case may be or the reason for you being audited, there are certainly some things you can do that will help you through the experience. Adhering to the following tips and advice will either help the audit progress more quickly, lessen the damage and possibly even encourage the IRS to drop ... Read more
  • 7 Deadly Outcomes of Treating Employees as Sub-Contractors
    We all hope that having employees will help us better succeed in our business. Whether it’s in production, sales or admin, if done right, the proper team of employees can make all the difference in the world. However, many small business owners are often wary of the costs and extra paperwork to bring on an ‘employee’ in the business and try to cut corners. Terms such as SUTA, FUTA, FICA and Workers Compensation will often times scare the employer into making a decision that devastates their business. They try and treat their “employees” as “sub-contractors” and 1099 them rather than set up payroll and follow the proper procedures when hiring an employee. I will simply refer to this incorrectly classified worker in your business as a  pseudo-employee (someone that is really not a sub, but an employee that should be on a W-2.) The reality is that this can be ... Read more
  • Steps to Succeed in a Partnership – Dos and Don’ts
    If you are considering entering into a partnership, or are already in one, there are critical issues to address if you want to succeed. Recently on an episode of our Refresh Your Wealth” Radio Show and Podcast, we compiled our Top 10 Dos and Don’ts to insure success in a business partnership. The time to consider this is now. The wrong time is after a problem has occurred in the relationship. Here is a list of items to talk about with your partner over a Grand Slam at Dennys this weekend: Have a Written Partnership Agreement. Do have your agreement in writing? Are you simply relying on memory or on that napkin from Dennys? Everything always seems clear and positive while you are shaking hands across the table and the sky’s the limit. It’s vital that you put the agreement in writing from the start and continue to memorialize changes ... Read more
  • Do I Need a Living Trust?- What You Need to Know
    Nobody wants to think about dying, but being prepared for a disaster is important in every instance, and dying with your assets disorganized could be just that: a disaster. Millions of Americans die each year without any type of estate plan in place, and this forces their families into the court system, where they experience huge expenses with probate and significant time delays when they would rather be mourning. In fact, more than 50 percent of Americans don’t even have a will or any type of estate plan whatsoever. So is a ‘Will’ the simple answer for everyone, certainly not. Many need to take a little extra time and money to implement a revocable living trust (RLT) as part of a coordinated estate plan.  It could your family thousands of dollars later and tons of time. Truth be told, there are a number of reasons for an RLT, and far ... Read more
  • Do I Need a Living Trust?- What You Need to Know
    Nobody wants to think about dying, but being prepared for a disaster is important in every instance, and dying with your assets disorganized could be just that: a disaster. Millions of Americans die each year without any type of estate plan in place, and this forces their families into the court system, where they experience huge expenses with probate and significant time delays when they would rather be mourning. In fact, more than 50 percent of Americans don’t even have a will or any type of estate plan whatsoever. So is a ‘Will’ the simple answer for everyone, certainly not. Many need to take a little extra time and money to implement a revocable living trust (RLT) as part of a coordinated estate plan.  It could your family thousands of dollars later and tons of time. Truth be told, there are a number of reasons for an RLT, and far ... Read more
  • Is My Pet a Tax Write-off?
    It’s estimated that there are over 78 million dog owners in the U.S. and over 85 million people that think they own a cat.  That’s A LOT of pets and they aren’t cheap either.  Pet industry spending in the U.S. is now over $67 billion.  (Source American Pet Products Association) Wouldn’t it be nice if you could get a little help from Uncle Sam as well as a tax write-off for some of that pet food, vet bills, or even that big price tag at the breeder?  Well, there might just be an option to save some taxes in the process. I’ve compiled 7 ways you might be able to find a tax write-off for that little ‘best friend’ of yours. 1. Medical Expense. The most common method to write off your pet is as a service animal; this is typically a dog. More and more doctors are prescribing/recommending patients invest ... Read more
  • Is My Pet a Tax Write-off?
    It’s estimated that there are over 78 million dog owners in the U.S. and over 85 million people that think they own a cat.  That’s A LOT of pets and they aren’t cheap either.  Pet industry spending in the U.S. is now over $67 billion.  (Source American Pet Products Association) Wouldn’t it be nice if you could get a little help from Uncle Sam as well as a tax write-off for some of that pet food, vet bills, or even that big price tag at the breeder?  Well, there might just be an option to save some taxes in the process. I’ve compiled 7 ways you might be able to find a tax write-off for that little ‘best friend’ of yours. 1. Medical Expense. The most common method to write off your pet is as a service animal; this is typically a dog. More and more doctors are prescribing/recommending patients invest ... Read more
  • How to Write-off College Expenses and Save For Children’s Education
    As I am now a parent with three kids in college, this topic has never become more important to me than it is now.  Yes!! I have written on this topic for many years, but I certainly want to take it to a whole new level. I apologize for the self-serving article, but I hope it will many of you now and those planning for your children’s college education in the future. Let’s break this down into three distinct groups.  1) Those already stressed out and having to deal with paying for a student in college now; 2) Those of you who are already paying back student loans and are hoping for a write-off; and 3) Those of you that have the luxury of a few years before a child goes to college and don’t realize how fast it is coming. Each one of these groups has options, but needs ... Read more
  • The Power of the Health Savings Account (HSA)
      The Health Savings Account is one of the most powerful pieces of a well designed health care strategy.  It includes saving money, saving taxes, building a tax-free ‘bucket’ for health care and most importantly taking control of your own health care strategy. You save money because in order to have an HSA, you have to have a ‘high deductible health care plan’.  Well, chances are you will have a lower premium with a higher deductible and save money. You save taxes because you get a tax deduction when contributing to your HSA, right on the front page of your tax return. You build a ‘tax free bucket’ of money in an HSA, just like an IRA.  The money can be invested and the growth is tax free and withdrawals for health care are tax free. Finally, you take control of many health care decisions because you can pay cash ... Read more
  • Last Minute Tax Strategies Before Filing
    Believe it or not, there are some important last-minute tax strategies to consider before filing. Even if you aren’t reading this article the week before that important April deadline, there are some important ideas to consider. Most importantly, keep reading and don’t fall prey into thinking that your tax return ‘is what it is’ and there isn’t something you can do to improve your tax situation. Now if you are actually reading this before the first filing deadline, remember this year in 2018 that deadline is Tuesday, April 17th. But as you probably just noticed, I emphasized the word ‘first’, because my first last-minute tax strategy is to consider an Extension. So, since time is of the essence and we are up against the clock, let’s jump into my top 4 “Last Minute Tax Strategies”. File an Extension. That’s right, don’t stress! If you aren’t ready to file your tax ... Read more
  • Last Minute Tax Strategies before Filing
    Believe it or not, there are some important last minute tax strategies to consider before filing. Even if you aren’t reading this article the week before that important April deadline, there are some important ideas to consider. Most importantly, keep reading and don’t fall prey into thinking that your tax return ‘is what it is’ and there isn’t something you can do to improve your tax situation. Now if you are actually reading this before the first filing deadline, remember this year in 2018 that deadline is Tuesday, April 17th. But as you probably just noticed, I emphasized the word ‘first’, because my first last minute tax strategy is to consider an Extension. So, since time is of the essence and we are up against the clock, let’s jump into my top 4 “Last Minute Tax Strategies”. File an Extension. That’s right, don’t stress! If you aren’t ready to file ... Read more